Danny Welbeck says Arsenal know they should be performing better after their 1-0 win over Norwich City was marred by protests against manager Arsene Wenger.
On his 750th Premier League game in charge of Arsenal, some fans in a divided home support held up banners opposing Wenger in the 12th and 78th minutes – referencing the 12 years since their last title.
Prior to Saturday’s match – which was won thanks to Welbeck’s strike 188 seconds after coming off the substitutes’ bench in the second half – the Frenchman had launched a staunch defence of his record and said his critics were going “too far”.
But Welbeck acknowledges that Arsenal should be producing more and reveals there is significant disappointment amongst the playing squad at their failure to challenge for the title.
“Obviously everyone is very disappointed,” the England striker told Sky Sports.
“We knew it was a great opportunity for us to go for the title this season and it is difficult to handle the way it is ending. We know in ourselves and as a club that we should be doing better than this.
“As a player you have to focus on the match and not too much on the surroundings. Fans are so important to football clubs and you have to respect that everyone has got an opinion, but we have got to do our stuff on the football pitch.
“We want to finish above Spurs but they want to finish above us. It is going to be difficult. We want to win our final two games and see what happens at the end of the season.”
Arsenal are now unbeaten in eight league matches and sit three points clear of Manchester City and eight ahead of West Ham and Manchester United after a victory that moves them closer to Champions League qualification.
Welbeck was thrilled to make an impact in an important game, scoring his fourth goal in 10 league appearances this term.
“Obviously when you are on the bench you want to come on and make an impact and thankfully I got the goal,” he said. “It was a difficult game, they were trying to avoid relegation and fighting to the end but we had to get the three points.
“Obviously it is down to the manager, but I just want to play every single game as players do. After being out for such a long time I am building up my fitness.
“I prefer to play as a striker but I will do my best and try to win the game for my team as long as I am on the pitch.”
Arsenal face City in a crucial match at the Etihad Stadium next Sunday.